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Another New Compressor Pedal

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  • Another New Compressor Pedal

    Picked up a Hofner Compressor the other day. $14 with free shipping was too low to pass up compared to the $25 on an optical compressor a few weeks ago.

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    The pedal uses a circuit similar to the popular MXR Dyna compressor, one of the most copied pedals. It has a coupe of enhancements. The MXR only has a level and sensitivity knob. This one has Level, attack and decay (sustain)

    Build quality is comparable to many low cost pedals built today. The box is metal and it does have a true bypass switch. The circuit board looks to be hand soldered so Its likely hand made by low skilled workers in the orient. That's OK so long as there aren't any cold solder joints and I didn't see any problems with the build. It did come with a new battery plugged in which was a first for me. Normally if a pedal comes with a battery it may be in the battery compartment wrapped in cellophane but never plugged in and active. Batteries will go dead and leak when left connected long term.

    Operation/functionality, The pedal's tone and frequency response is excellent with clean guitar. No noticeable coloration at all. The attack had practically no swell and the decay was very smooth with practically no distortion. My only complaint would be the volume level. In order to get a 1:1 gain between on and bypassed you need to set the volume very low, in the lower 1/4 range. This is dodgy because its very close to where the potentiometer cuts off. 1mm turn down and it cuts off and 1mm up and the volume practically doubles.

    If you needed that gain as a booster or if you leave it on all the time then maybe you could use the extra gain. What I'll likely do is compare the MXR circuit to this one and attenuate the output a little. probably just needs a 1K ohm resistor added to give the volume pot a 1:1 range in the 50% range.

    Placed before a high gain pedal the guitar notes really sing. No problem getting sympathetic string feedback from this one. Its one flaw is the same as any MXR clone. The amount of gain the compressor has will amplify any noise coming from the guitar. Any shielding issues that let hum in are going to be amplified. I did my testing with Mini Humbuckers on a guitar that has sufficient shielding, but I got allot of hum when the notes dies out and the overdrive pedal amplified the self noise levels to where they became annoying.

    I'd say anyone wanting to use this with a Fender guitar that has unshielded wiring and single coil pickups is likely to have hum issues. The best solution would be to shield the guitar well, use excellent cords and use a noise gate.

    I do like the clarity of this one. No mud tones. Its less crushed then a Boss compressor and it has practically no attack swell where you hear the comp kicking in. You really only notice it by how much longer the notes sustain out. Its got a little bit of added preamp gain to get a clean amp to jangle with a British Beatlesque sound which I like for guitar chords. I may wire up my pedal board and put this one on a clean guitar loop then use my Marshall for the driven guitar sounds. This way its noise amplification wont be bothersome.

  • #2
    Nice pick up. For that price you really can't go wrong.


    • #3
      I been using it for a couple of weeks now, plugged into a 15W Marshall MG amp with a little overdrive and echo dialed up.
      Other then the fact the hum levels can be a bit high when I let go of the strings, the compression is excellent. Its got a cranked tube amp string touch to it which is really cool. I can slam the chords and get an excellent Pete Townsend/Who's Next type kerrang out of the strings, especially using my semi hollow body guitars where the higher gain/compression makes them come alive. Even my old Epiphone Dot was sounding like it got a shot of steroids.